Wednesday, June 02, 2010

RG.11- The Legend of Slingin' Sam

Well, I guess we're all familiar with THIS story, aren't we?

"Player A" nearly loses a match, facing down match point in the 3rd set of a contest that she'd somehow let get away from her a set earlier, when she was but two points away from victory after having earlier in the set run off an incredible string of seventeen consecutive points won against "Player B." Somehow, though, "Player A" manages to turn her fortunes around at the very last moment, seizing control of the momentum of the battle in its closing stages, dictating points with a serve and forehand combination that was a sight to behold on one of the sport's grandest stages. In the end, "Player B" is left to wonder what sort of historic opportunity was lost, while "Player A" carries on toward what could be the greatest moment in her entire career.

Yep, it sure looks like Serena Williams is going to have to make some room on the shelf back home for that thirteenth slam singles bauble before she heads off to England, after all. I mean, with two slams in her back pocket and London and New Yor-

Huh? What's that?

(long, informational pause)

You're kidding? Really? It's not April 1st is it? Okaaaay. Wow. That's, that's... REALLY weird.

Oh, hi. Umm, well... errr. Nevermind?

Come on, don't tell me you didn't sort of mentally put this match to bed somewhere between the end of the 2nd set and Serena's match point at 5-4 in the 3rd. Heck, forget about putting the MATCH to bed for the day. I think it's likely that most people watching Williams' quarterfinal match with Samantha Stosur today had already conceded that Serena was going to be half-way to a true Grand Slam by Saturday night once she'd turned her near straight sets defeat back to her advantage on Day 11 and had the Aussie's fate seemingly in her powerful hands. I mean, in SIX of Williams' twelve career slam championship runs she's come back at some point in the tournament from either match point down or having her opponent serve for the match. There was no reason to believe this wasn't going to be the seventh such case.

Well, check that There was ONE reason. Her name is Slingin' Sammy Stosur, and she might be about to become a near-mythological figure that Aussie tennis fans tell their grandchildren about generations from now. (Whew! Now I'm REALLY glad I predicted her in January to finish in the year-end Top 10 for the first time in her career, you know?)

As it turned out, the "Substitute Bang" was the biggest of them all.

On a warm afternoon that was largely different from many of those that had preceded it, the heavy conditions were no longer present to strap down either of the two big hitters. But only one of them never let herself forget that this contest was being played on red clay. Of course, even without having won a Roland Garros crown since 2002, Serena usually doesn't pay much attention to the surface she's playing on. She can usually win on anything if she's in the right frame of mind and her game isn't in a pitch battle against itself.

That was the case on Day 11, though. Then it wasn't. Then it was again. Then it was over.

In the 1st set, Williams was seemingly stuck in neutral while Stosur was already warmed up and ready to go. Noticably being a step behind the Aussie with her footwork and grondstrokes, Williams found herself down break points in her first three service games. Down 3-2, one single point said everything about Act One of this three-act drama. On break point, Serena made Stosur hit slice backhand after slice backhand, as she smartly kept her shots away from that lethal forehand. Stosur was more than content -- and patient enough -- to hit those shots, too. Then, when Serena took a chance and gave the Aussie an opportunity to hit a forehand, Stosur jumped. She pounded a groundstroke that ran Williams off the court, forcing an error and getting the break for a 4-2 lead. In the next game, Stosur hit an ace to hold for 5-2, then broke a confused and frustrated Serena to take the set at 6-2.

It didn't end there, either. From the closing stages of the 1st through the opening moments of the 2nd set, Stosur ran off an incredible string of seventeen consecutive points. But Williams battles better than any other player on tour, and she slowly got her game turned around in these embryonic stages of Act Two as she took on a very familiar look. Down 1-2, she let loose with one of her patented primal screams after one point, then proceeded to save break points with big serves, ending the stretch with an ace to hold.

Still, Stosur maintained the better clay court mentality. Playing within herself, the Aussie rarely pushed things by trying to rush the net. She remained content to slice backhands if she had to, all the while waiting for her one opportunity to arrive within long rallies to unleash her forehand and take control of the point. Just like she did against Justine Henin in the Round of 16. With her kick-serve and topspin bread-and-butter shot working, she was well on her way to the semifinals. Serena needed Stosur to blink, to become tentative if only for a few moments, to provide an opening for her to work HER usual slam magic.

She got it.

Serving for the match at 5-3, Stosur opened the game by double-faulting for the first time in the match. Soon it was love/30. She got things level at 30/30, but a forehand miss gave Williams her first break point chance of the set. Serena wrong-footed the Aussie by directing a shot behind her, then put away a volley to get the set back on serve. Up 40/love in her own service game, she pounded an ace to make it 5-5.

What is it that New York Yankee great Yogi Berra quote about baseball? It's "90% mental, and the other half is physical." It seemed to apply here, too.

After just minutes before seeming discombobulated, a newly-confident Williams suddenly seized control. When the tie-break arrived, a long Stosur forehand gave Serena a mini-break. It was all she needed. The American raced to a 5-1 lead, and won 7-2. Cue the primal scream.

So, that was game, set and match. Right? It seemed so, as Act Two was now in full swing.

Stosur got a break in the first game, but Williams got it back one game later. In game #5, Serena hit three aces and an unreturnable serve to go up 3-2. Oh, there were a few slight cracks evident in Williams' game, such as when four consecutive backhand errors meant she wasn't able to break Stosur after having two break chances. "Pulling a Serena" from earlier in the match, even while she was still behind on the scoreboard, one could feel Stosur pulling herself together, hitting harder and with more authority again.

Still, the task of dragging herself out of Serena's fire wasn't going to be easy.

Down 5-4, Stosur served to stay in the match one set after she'd attempted to serve it out and win. She went up 30/love, but a long backhand and missed volley left Serena two points from victory. When the Aussie framed a forehand to give Williams a match point, it looked like the end was near. Game, set and match. Right?

Again, no.

With Stosur forced to run to the net to retrieve a short Williams return, Serena attempted a forehand lob to win... but it landed just beyond the baseline. Stosur was saved. Welcome to Act Three. Stosur took a Serena-like breath, got a game point, then hit an ace to knot the score at 5-5.

Hey, it's not supposed to go THIS way, is it?

Williams easily held for 6-5, then Stosur framed another shot on the first point of game #12. Here we go, right? Umm, no. Down love/30. Now? Nope. The Aussie hit a service winner and an ace to get to 30/30 and... yes, she managed to stem the Serena tide and hold yet again. In game #13, Stosur started feeling her old 1st set magic again. You know, the sort of vital, life-giving wellspring that Serena usually rediscovers at this stage in an important match in a slam.

SHE didn't find it this time, though.

Stosur passed Williams to get two break chances in a point highlighted the great defense of a scrambling Williams desperately struggling to keep up with the Aussie's power shots. Stosur's lunging backhand pass flew by Serena at the net, and she grabbed a break for a 7-6 lead. Again, she'd serve for the match. STOSUR would, not Williams... as one had expected to be the case a few minutes earlier.

"Ah, Serena will surely get a break now," was the thought. But then Stosur went up 30/15, and Williams pushed a second serve return out to give the Aussie two match points. One long return later and... Stosur had won!


Are you sure that isn't a typo? Yeah, yeah. I know... you watched it yourself.

After Serena had her match point, it was Stosur who won four of the final games. It's been thirty years since an Australian woman won a grand slam singles title -- a literal lifetime and then some for Stosur. But, really, "pulling a Serena" ...AGAINST Serena, might be an even more impressive feat than anything that Stosur pulls off over the next three days. I mean, you can't really beat that for shear tennis audacity, you know? No wonder Sam so often wears those shades on the court. Her immediate future is so bright, she HAS to.

All right, come on ya little ankle-biters. Gather 'round the campfire. Let me tell ya "The Legend of Slingin' Sam"...

=DAY 11 NOTES= the day's other women's QF, Jelena Jankovic fulfilled what appeared to be her destiny when the draw for this tournament was first announced -- she reached the SF. She defeated Yaroslava Shvedova 7-5/6-4.

Thus, whichever woman ends up winning this title, she'll rank in the top five in WTA history when it comes to how many career slam appearances it took to finally win a major title. If Dementieva wins, she'll set an entirely new record in slam #46.

...later in the day, Serena and Venus knocked off Liezel Huber and Anabel Medina-Garrigues in the Doubles SF. The win means that the Sisters, who'll now be going for a non-calendar "SisterSlam" with a fourth straight slam title, will replace Huber as #1 in the doubles rankings (not that Huber really cares about the #1 ranking, though, you know) on Monday. They're the twenty-third and twenty-fourth women to hold the spot, and the sixth and seventh players who've been #1 in both singles and doubles in their careers. Serena becomes the sixth woman to hold the top spots simultaneously, and the first since the Squeegee Queen in 2003.

...well, the way the Stosur/Serena match played out, one of them was going to be able to claim the "Zombie Queen" title. So it goes to Stosur for pulling the rare feat of facing a match point against Williams and living to tell about it. Unless someone stands on her head (think Pennetta vs. Zvonareva at the Open) in the final three matches, this one is finally wrapped up.

The "Doubles Star" award goes to Katarina Srebotnik, who is in both the Doubles final with Kveta Peschke and Mixed final with Nenad Zimonjic. She's the only woman still alive in both. Although, if Srebotnik/Peschke were to win, it might be difficult to avoid honoring the 34-year old Peschke, as well. The Czech, after a long and mostly successful doubles career, would finally be lifting her first career slam trophy if she and Srebotnik were to upset the Williams Sisters.

It looks like the "It Girl" and "Junior Breakout" awards will be split in some fashion by the remaining juniors. There are quite a few legitimate possible winners. A few:

The Americans + 1: there's still a possibility of an all-American Girls final, as '09 RG junior semifinalist Sloane Stephens and #9-seed Beatrice Capra are still alive in the QF. Meanwhile, #1 Monica Puig of the American island territory of Puerto Rico has so far held her seed, as well.

Another Hordette: #3-seed Irina Khromacheva is looking to become the seventh different Russian girl to win a slam junior title since 1998 (they've won eight titles), or at least the eleventh different one to reach a junior slam final in that span.

Ons Jabeur/TUN: and here she is, out of Tunisia (the native land of Selima "The Tunisian Tornado" Sfar of Backspins Past), of all places. A winner of a challenger event earlier this season, she faces Stephens in the QF and could become the first from her nation to win a junior slam crown.

Maria-Teresa Torro-Flor/ESP: the 18-year old has already won challenger titles in each of the last three seasons. And, by the way, it's about time a Spanish female wins a junior slam, don't you think? After the Golden Age of Sanchez-Vicario and Martinez, times have been pretty lean in comparison for women's tennis in Spain, even with the success of the men on the ATP tour and so many players heading off to the Sanchez Academy to train. Still, no female player has really followed in the footsteps of Arantxa and Conchita, who were the top two ranked players in the world at one point (even little Belgium has already had some quick follow-up to the Justine/Barbie two-headed breakthrough). VRP was most successful as a doubles player, and while AMG has had a good singles career, she's never even reached a slam QF. CSN has already reached two and is just 21, but she's sort of stalled out a bit in 2010; while Rome champ MJMS has been something of a late-bloomer. A few numbers: the last Spanish junior slam champ was Lourdes Dominguez-Lino in 1999 at Roland Garros, and the last girls finalist was MJMS in Melbourne in '00. The most recent RG women's finalist was Martinez in 2000 (RU), and it's been twelve years since ASV was the last of that pair to win a major in 1998. No Spanish woman even reached the 3rd Round in Paris this year.

And, of course, there's still...

Yaroslava Shvedova/KAZ: she lost in the singles QF today to Jankovic, but she and Julian Knowle are in the Mixed final. If she wins her first career slam title, the combination might allow her to swoop in and take this one.

...and, finally, with NBC not scheduled to air the women's semifinals tomorrow, it looks like the peacock network is going to end up having pretty good coverage of Roland Garros this year. I guess it helps when you barely maintain a presence over two weeks, and then luck out with live big matches falling into your lap during a few weekend coverage blocks, huh?

=MIDDLE ROUND AWARDS - 2r/3r to QF (Days 6-11)=
TOP PLAYER: Samantha Stosur/AUS
...hmmm, she's reached her second straight RG SF and became the first Australian to defeat the world #1 in a slam since Dokic in '99 (Hingis). And she ended Justine Henin's 24-match win steak in Paris, too. Oh, yeah. That.
RISERS: Jelena Jankovic/SRB & Yaroslava Shvedova/KAZ
...both still have a shot at a slam title. (RU: Maria Kirilenko/RUS)
SURPRISES: Chanelle Scheepers/RSA & Jarmila Groth/AUS
...the Last Qualifier and Last Wild Card standing. (RU: Ons Jabeur/TUN)
VETERANS: Elena Dementieva/RUS & Francesca Schiavone/ITA of them will get a shot at a late-career slam title, and they won't be facing someone who already has twelve trophies on her mantle, either. (RU: Williams/Williams, USA)
FRESH FACE Sloane Stephens/USA
...a year ago, she was a junior semfinalist in Paris. She can take one (or maybe two) more steps this time. The last American junior to win at RG was Jennifer Capriati in 1989 (only Ashley Harkleroad in '02 has reached the final in the twenty years since). (RU: Maria-Teresa Torro-Flor/ESP)
COMEBACK: Nadia Petrova/RUS close, yet so far. The story of her career. I guess I WILL end up having to do a Nadia-based "What If?" to get some satisfaction, after all. (RU: Katarina Srebotnik/SLO)
DOWN: Svetlana Kuznetsova/RUS & Justine Henin/RUS
...with their 3rd and 4th Round exits, respectively, the only one of the RG women's singles finalists since 2003 who even reached the QF this year was Dementieva. At least Henin didn't ramble on afterward about younger players not essentially "bowing down to their elders," though. (RU: Li Na & Zheng Jie, CHN & the Pliskova sisters, CZE)

"I never believe I've lost until I'm shaking hands... and sometimes I don't believe it then, either." - Serena Williams

3rd Rd. - Petrova d. Rezai 6-7/6-4/10-8
...Nadia comes back from three match points down? Nadia? Are you sure?
4th Rd. - Stosur d. Henin 2-6/6-1/6-4
...would "La Petit Taureau 1.0" have lost this one?
QF - Stosur d. S.Williams 6-2/6-7/8-6
...wait, you mean someone came back from a match point in a slam to DEFEAT Serena. Usually, Serena would now go on to win the title. Well, Sam?

*OH, YEAH...they played, too*
3rd Rd. - Henin d. Sharapova 6-2/3-6/6-3 any other slam, on any other surface, in any other season, and before a certain Aussie hijacked the headlines for this tournament, THIS would have been the marquee match-up. Times change. Come NYC, they might have changed back, though.

"Sports doesn't build character. It shows it." - Ana Ivanovic

TENNIS LEARNINGS OF PARIS FOR MAKE BENEFIT GLORIOUS NATION OF KAZAKHSTAN: so what if she was born a Hordette, and player under the Russian flag until a short time ago, Yaroslava Shvedova still became the first representative of Kazakhstan to reach a slam singles quarterfinal and a Mixed Doubles final... and might be the first to win a slam, too.
AFTER ALL THESE YEARS, SOME ITALIAN FIRSTS (and a second): Francesca Schiavone reached her first grand slam singles semifinal less than a month shy of the big 3-oh. She's the first Italian woman to do it. On Monday, she'll join Flavia Pennetta as the only Italian woman to ever reach the WTA singles Top 10.

"After Miami, she just felt like I wasn't good enough to play with anymore." - Cara Black, on former doubles partner Liezel Huber

ZOMBIE QUEEN: Samantha Stosur
CRASH & BURNER (3r-QF): Justine Henin. This time, the cytomegalovirus can't take the brunt of the loss.
LAST PASTRIES STANDING: Aravane Rezai and Marion Bartoli (i3rd Round)
LAST QUALIFIER STANDING: Chanelle Scheepers (4th Round)
COMEBACK PLAYER: Kimiko Date-Krumm

"Whenever we mentioned something about the #1 ranking, Cara would just tighten up. For me it was never 'Liezel Huber the #1 player.' But I felt for her it was 'Cara Black the #1 player.' Who cares what the ranking is?" - Liezel Huber

DOUBLES STAR: Karatina Srebotnik (notably, neither Huber, nor Black... hmmm.)

And on top of all that, a first-time slam winner will be crowned at Roland Garros yet again. Of the twelve different women who've hoisted the Coupe Suzanne Lenglen since 1985, eight of them won their maiden slam in this same little spring event in Paris. After Saturday, it'll be nine of thirteen.

#7 Samantha Stosur/AUS vs. #4 Jelena Jankovic/SRB
#17 Francesca Schiavone/ITA vs. #5 Elena Dementieva/RUS

#5 Robin Soderling/SWE vs. #15 Tomas Berdych/CZE
#22 Jurgen Melzer/AUT vs. #2 Rafael Nadal/ESP

#1 Williams/Williams (USA/USA) vs. #12 Peschke/Srebotnik (CZE/SLO)

#10 Knowle/A.Ram (AUT/ISR) vs. #3 Dlouhy/Paes (CZE/IND)
#4 Moodie/Norman (RSA/BEL) vs. #2 Nestor/Zimonjic (CAN/SRB)

#6 Srebotnik/Zimonjic (SLO/SRB) vs. Shvedova/Knowle (KAZ/AUT)

#1 Monica Puig/PUR vs. Silvia Njiric/CRO
Elina Svitolina/UKR vs. #9 Beatrice Capra/USA
Maria-Teresa Torro-Flor/ESP vs. #3 Irina Khromacheva/RUS
Sloane Stephens/USA vs. Ons Jabeur/TUN

Agustin Velotti/ARG vs. #5 Tiago Fernandes/BRA
#3 Gianni Mina/FRA vs. James Duckworth/AUS
#11 Renzo Olivo/ARG vs. Andrea Collarini/USA
#9 Duilio Beretta/PER vs. Mate Pavic/CRO

Abbes/Jabeur (TUN/TUN) vs. Grage/S.Zheng (DEN/CHN)
De Bernardi/Jeanjean (FRA/FRA) vs. #5 Babos/Stephens (HUN/USA)
#8 L.Kichenok/Svitolina (UKR/UKR) vs. #4 Capra/Cepede Royg (USA/PAR)
Arruabarrena-Vecino/Torro-Flor (ESP/ESP) vs. Kania/Linette (POL/POL)

#1 Dzumhur/Zsiga (BIH/HUN) vs. Arguello/Velotti (ARG/ARG)
#3 Baluda/Biryukov (RUS/RUS) vs. Golding/Rumyantsev (GBR/RUS)
#7 Beretta/Quiroz (PER/ECU) vs. #4 Duckworth/Murray Kubler (AUS/AUS)
Boluda-Purkiss/Colella (ESP/ITA) vs. #2 Heller/Krawietz (GER/GER)

WI: Venus Williams, USA
AO: Jelena Jankovic, SRB
RG: Dinara Safina, RUS
WI: Nicole Vaidosova, CZE
US: Jelena Jankovic, SRB
AO: Dinara Safina, RUS
RG: Victoria Azarenka, BLR
WI: Dinara Safina, RUS
US: Flavia Pennetta, ITA
AO: Serena Williams, USA
RG: Samantha Stosur, AUS

2006 Lisa Raymond/Samantha Stosur, USA/AUS
2007 Katarina Srebotnik, SLO
2008 Anabel Medina-Garrigues/Virginia Ruano Pascual, ESP/ESP
2009 Virginia Ruano Pascual, ESP
2010 Katarina Srebotnik, SLO

18...Serena Williams (15-3)
18...Venus Williams (14-4)
17...Justine Henin (12-5)
13...Belgian Barbie (6-7)
10...Maria Sharapova (4-6)
5...Svetlana Kuznetsova (4-1)
5...Dinara Safina (3-2)
2...Nadia Petrova (0-2)
2...Zheng Jie (0-2)
Marion Bartoli, Caroline Wozniacki
Anna Chakvetadze, Dominika Cibulkova, Jelena Dokic, Daniela Hantuchova, Li Na, Mirjana Lucic, Patty Schnyder, Yanina Wickmayer, Vera Zvonareva
Nicole Vaidisova (0-2)

2004 Virginia Ruano Pascual/Paola Suarez, ESP/ARG
2005 Virginia Ruano Pascual/Paola Suarez, ESP/ARG
2006 Lisa Raymond/Samantha Stosur, USA/AUS
2007 Alicia Molik/Mara Santangelo, AUS/ITA
2008 Anabel Medina-Garrigues/Virginia Ruano Pascual, ESP/ESP
2009 Anabel Medina-Garrigues/Virginia Ruano Pascual, ESP/ESP

2005 Daniela Hantuchova/Fabrice Santoro, SVK/FRA
2006 Katarina Srebotnik/Nenad Zimonjic, SLO/SRB
2007 Nathalie Dechy/Andy Ram, FRA/ISR
2008 Victoria Azarenka/Bob Bryan, BLR/USA
2009 Liezel Huber/Bob Bryan, USA/USA

[Elena Dementieva in 46th slam]
45...Jana Novotna, CZE ('98 Wimbledon)
[Francesca Schiavone in 39th slam]
31...Amelie Mauresmo, FRA ('06 Australian)
29...Jennifer Capriati, USA ('01 Australian)
[Samantha Stosur in 28th slam]
28...Kerry Melville Reid, AUS ('77 Australian)
[Jelena Jankovic in 27th slam]
26...Lindsay Davenport, USA ('98 U.S.)
22...Belgian Barbie, BEL ('05 U.S.)

[chronologically, when first ranked #1]
1984 Martina Navratilova
1985 Pam Shriver
1990 Helena Sukova
1990 Jana Novotna
1991 Gigi Fernandez
1991 Natasha Zvereva
1992 Larisa Neiland
1995 Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario
1997 Lindsay Davenport
1998 Martina Hingis
1999 Anna Kournikova
2000 Corina Morariu
2000 Lisa Raymond
2000 Rennae Stubbs
2000 Julie Halard-Decugis
2000 AI Sugiyama
2002 Paola Suarez
2003 Belgian Barbie
2003 Virginia Ruano Pascual
2005 Cara Black
2006 Samantha Stosur
2007 Liezel Huber
2010 Serena Williams *
2010 Venus Williams *
[#1 in singles & doubles during career, when]
Belgian Barbie (2003/2003)
Lindsay Davenport (1998/1997)
Martina Hingis (1997/1998)
Martina Navratilova (1978/1984)
Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario (1995/1992)
Serena Williams (2002/2010) *
Venus Williams (2002/2010) *
[simultaneous #1's - total weeks]
102...Martina Navratilova
29...Martina Hingis
7...Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario
3...Lindsay Davenport
3...Belgian Barbie
0...Serena Williams *
* - will be doubles #1 on June 7

[since 1998]
4...Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (3-1)
2...Vera Dushevina (1-1)
2...Lina Krasnoroutskaya (1-1)
2...Nadia Petrova (1-1)
2...Svetlana Kuznetsova (0-2)
2...Maria Sharapova (0-2)
1...Maria Kirilenko (1-0)
1...Ksenia Pervak (1-0)
1...Yana Buchina (0-1)
1...Anna Chakvetadze (0-1)
1...Daria Gavrilova (0-1)
1...Dinara Safina (0-1)

TOP EARLY ROUND (1r-2r): Venus Williams/USA
TOP MIDDLE-ROUND (3r-QF): Samantha Stosur/AUS
TOP QUALIFYING MATCH: Q3: Kurumi Nara/JPN d. Monica Niculescu/ROU 4-6/7-6/10-8
TOP EARLY RD. MATCH (1r-2r): 2nd Rd: #6 Svetlana Kuznetsova/RUS d. Andrea Petkovic/GER 4-6/7-5/6-4
TOP MIDDLE-RD. MATCH (3r-QF): 3rd Rd: #19 Nadia Petrova/RUS d. #15 Aravane Rezai/FRA 6-7/6-4/10-8
FIRST WIN: Dominika Cibulkova/SVK (1st Rd. - def. Ekaterina Ivanova/RUS)
FIRST SEED OUT: #10 Victoria Azarenka/BLR (1st Rd. - lost to Dulko/ARG)
UPSET QUEENS: The Australians
LAST QUALIFIER STANDING: Chanelle Scheepers/RSA (4th Rd.)
IT GIRL: xxx
CRASH & BURN: #9 Dinara Safina/RUS, 2008-09 Runner-Up (1st Rd. - lost to Kimiko Date-Krumm/JPN)
ZOMBIE QUEEN: #7 Samantha Stosur/AUS (QF - down MP to Serena Williams/USA)
LAST PASTRY STANDING: Marion Bartoli/FRA & Aravane Rezai/FRA (3rd Rd.)
DOUBLES STAR Kararina Srebotnik/SLO (in Doubles & Mixed finals)

All for Day 11. More tomorrow.


Blogger Jeppe said...

You just got to love the WTA! To think that a semifinal line-up without any of the top five players of the decade, Serena, Henin, Venus, Sharapova and Clijsters, and without last years finalists, can still be this intriguing. All four semifinalist thoroughly deserves to be there, and any of the possible 8 final outcomes (Winner/Runner-up) would be very satisfying, in one way or another. Stosur beating Dementieva seems the most likely, and Schiavone beating Jankovic the least, but the whole thing is completely unpredictable. The only real let down I can imagine from here on out would be if a player has to retire in the final (Dementieva?) or is too emotionally spend to do herself justice (Schiavone?). Other than that, what can go wrong? Even the weather forecasts are good.

Thu Jun 03, 04:02:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Diane said...

So it was you, Jeppe, who jinxed the semifinals :)

Thu Jun 03, 01:24:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Todd Spiker said...

Ha, at least I didn't have anything to do with it. :)

(And I didn't have anything to do with Nadia's exit, either. Ah, the eternal sunshine of the spotless conscious.) :D

Thu Jun 03, 03:47:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Jeppe said...

Sorry ...
I promise never to post another comment here again (unless Caroline does something spectacular at Wimbledon, of course:-))

Fri Jun 04, 04:41:00 AM EDT  
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